World Bank to finance smallholder farmers and agri-enterprises in Liberia, Côte d’Ivoire

WEST AFRICA – The World Bank has approved new financing through the International Development Association (IDA), to increase productivity and market access for smallholder farmers and agri-enterprises in Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.

In Liberia, the bank is injecting US$55 million credit financing into the Rural Economic Transformation Project (RETRAP), focusing on improved production of cassava, rubber, poultry, and pigs.

This new financing targets 60,000 persons, 50 percent of whom are women, mainly smallholder farmers and agri-entrepreneurs (private agribusiness investors, cooperatives, and SME processing or providing other services to agri-food systems) who are engaged in the selected value chains.

RETRAP will also build capacity at various stages of the value chain and support investment with new technologies and practices to increase productivity and ensure resilience to climate change.

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“This new project fulfills the Bank’s commitment to support Liberia in transforming the agriculture sector by scaling up the level of financing and deploying the resources in a holistic way, including through an intervention for improving rural road infrastructure,” said Dr. Khwima Nthara, World Bank Country Manager in Liberia.

The project will strengthen institutional capacity of beneficiary institutions to deliver agribusiness support services and build capacity and provide support, including technical assistance for adoption of new technologies and practices that will increase productivity of the food system and its resilience to climate change. 

These institutions include the Ministry of Agriculture, Central Agricultural Research Institute – Soil and Crop Laboratory, National Standards Laboratory of Liberia, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and service providers engaged in implementing the project.

About 12,000 farmers are targeted to be reached with agricultural assets or services, and the project interventions are expected to result in a 30% increase in yield of targeted value chains over the next five years.

The RETRAP will improve rural access and agricultural marketing by upgrading roads and modernizing selected rural markets and will be implemented in 11 of Liberia’s 15 counties: Bomi, Bong, Grand Bassa, Grand Cape Mount, Grand Kru, Margibi, Montserrado, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Sinoe and Maryland counties.

“The World Bank will use this financing to address major challenges by scaling up investment in agricultural research, marketing, and agro-industrial transformation in order to build a competitive and inclusive agri-food sector.”

Coralie Gevers – World Bank Country Director for Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Guinea, and Togo

Meanwhile in Cote d’Ivoire, World Bank has approved US$250 million in total financing to support the Agri-Food Sector Development Project, aimed to remove the major obstacles hindering the growth of the agri-food sector and spur the development of more inclusive, resilient and competitive agri-food value chains.

The project will promote real opportunities to forge private partnerships among stakeholders in targeted value chains such as cassava, horticulture, and aquaculture and thus boost investments to improve and modernize the sector’s weakest segments.

The project is therefore expected to help improve the agri-food sector’s business environment and coordination along the value chains by structuring their actors.

It also aims to increase access by these value chains not only to modern technologies adapted to the needs of farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs but also to markets, as well as enhance their resilience to climate change.

“The World Bank will use this financing to support efforts by the Ivorian authorities to address these major challenges by scaling up investment in agricultural research, marketing, and agro-industrial transformation in order to build a competitive and inclusive agri-food sector,” said Coralie Gevers, World Bank Country Director for Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Guinea, and Togo.

Together with the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), will play a key role in private sector engagement by improving the business climate and promoting private investment in the agri-food sector in Côte d’Ivoire.

IFC’s involvement will also enable the project to support approximately 600,000 smallholder farmers, half of whom will be women, 150 SMEs, and at least 400 microenterprises involved in the production, marketing, and processing of agri-food products.

The project will facilitate access to financing for SMEs and smallholder farmers by establishing a matching grant fund instrument and creating, within the SME Partial Credit Guarantee Fund (FGPME), a dedicated window for potential agri-food investors.

It will support specific training for women-led producer organizations to promote their inclusion in decision-making, access to financing, and their economic and social empowerment.

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